Last summer, my spouse and I began to watch an old movie, The Red House
, starring Edward G. Robinson and Julie London (she of the smoky voice: Cry Me a River
). My spouse didn't like the beginning. Something about abusive behavior towards young women, I think. I got intrigued and decided I might try the book on which it was based. Well, it turns out that that Red House
wasn't really available, although I might be able to get a dead-tree version via interlibrary loan were I persistent enough. Instead, I settled for this Red House
, which was written in 2010 instead of 1943, and takes place in England instead of America's rural south.
Anyway, I had a bit of a problem getting into this book. It's written in an artsy/fartsy style, and it's tough to tell what's going on, or even who is involved. We have splashes of scenes, which may be actually happening or perhaps just being recreated in people's minds. We have snatches of dialog, which, again, might be in real time or perhaps flash backs to an earlier time. We're not always sure who is involved in the scenes or dialogues. After a while, one can figure out most of what is going on, but as I said, the first quarter or so is a tough slog before one becomes vaguely acclimated to the artsy/fartsy style.
We have a sort-of family spending a week together at a house in the countryside over near Wales. Angela and Dominic have three children, a teenage boy who is into working out, a teenage girl who recently became an ardent convert to Christianity, and a young boy who likes swords and knights in armor and such. Then we have Angela's brother, Richard, and his trophy wife, Louise, and her teenage daughter, Melissa. Basically, they're all stuck in this house together; none of them really knowing each other; all having skeletons in their personal closets. They can't decide if they want to get along or to flee. Something like that.
It was ok, but not enthralling. I think part of that might be my own problem. I'm more comfortable, it seems, in an earlier age.